Do You Watch “The Profit”?

I’m hooked on a CNBC show called “The Profit.”

Someone recommended the show to me recently (I’ve searched through my emails and can’t find who it was, so if it was you, please tell me so I can thank you! Over that last week I’ve watched 10 or so episodes, and I’m really enjoying it.

The premise of this reality-style show is that a billionaire named Marcus Lemonis spends an episode helping a struggling small business. At first I thought it was going to be one of those shows where a big personality enters a situation (like those home-makeover shows), takes over, tries to fix a few camera-friendly things,  shares the always-positive results at the end (purely from a financial standpoint), and then washes their hands clean of the business.

Some of that is true–there are a few made-for-TV moments, and almost every episode features an ugly, inefficient space turned into a beautiful space. But there’s so much more to the show that really elevates it:

  • One of the first things Marcus does is to buy a share of the business. He’s not a consultant telling people what to do–he has a financial stake in the company. Unlike Shark Tank, the focus isn’t on the negotiation. Typically it’s 2 minutes of the show at most, ending with a handshake deal. Then the work begins, with Marcus having full authority to make decisions.
  • Despite the name of the show, it’s not all about money. A significant portion of each episode is spent on the people who run and work at the featured business. In the handful of episodes I’ve seen, Marcus has helped to mend a marriage, a sibling feud, a father-son relationship, and a number of business partnerships that weren’t working well. He also spends time listening to the employees. It’s rare that I’ve seen his level of empathy on a show like this, and I’ve learned a lot from watching him.
  • A number of episodes don’t have happy endings. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but there seem to be a number of partnerships that don’t work out. There seems to be a pattern of owners on the show who are huge bullies and outright lie to Marcus and their employees. I’ve seen Marcus fire some of them, and other times he just walks away. And there are even a few where the owners come to terms with their shortcomings and trust the process–those are some of the best stories.

I’m only a week into watching the show, and I already feel like I’ve benefited significantly by watching it. If you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re interested in interpersonal dynamics, I think you may really enjoy it. Here’s a sample episode to give you a taste of the process. Let me know what you think!